THE LIFE CYCLE OF A FLEA
.Adult Fleas - Adults fleas emerging from the cocoon can begin feeding immediately if a host is present. they can locate the host by visual and thermal cues. Before feeding, it pumps saliva which contains an anticoagulant onto the skin, this prevents the blood from clotting. The protein it contains can cause a severe allergic reaction in the host (causing flea allergy dermatitis). Adult fleas can survive throughout the winter on pets.
Eggs - Female fleas can produce about 40 to 50 eggs per day. Flea eggs readily fall off the pets hair into the environment. Wherever the pet spends most of its time is usually where the heaviest flea infestations is.
Larvae - Larvae hatch from eggs in one to six days given appropriate environmental conditions. Their principal food is adult flea faeces. Flea larvae are small, thin and white, measuring 1 to 2 millimeters in length. Indoors, flea larvae tend to live deep in carpeting or under furniture. Outside, they develop best in shaded areas or under leaves or similar debris. Any area of the garden where a pet seeks shelter from the heat or cold is potentially a great environment for fleas.
Pupae - A mature larva transforms into a pupa inside a silk cocoon. Under most household conditions, the adult flea will emerge in three to five weeks. However, a fully developed flea can remain inside the cocoon for up to 350 days, a reproductive strategy that enhances the flea's chance of survival. This helps to explain how a flea infestation can seemingly “explode” out of nowhere, even inside your home.
5% of fleas live in the environment as an adult, 95 % of fleas live as eggs, larvae or pupae. For effective flea control it is essential to break the lifecycle in the environment
· Egg-to-egg life cycle is usually two to four weeks. Under the right conditions this can be a little shorter (12 days), or much longer (8 months).
WHY DO FLEAS SPREAD SO QUICKLY?
Fleas breed at an enormous rate. The fleas you see on your dog represent only 5-10% of the fleas in the environment. The rest of the population is represented in the egg and larval stages found in your carpets, furniture, bedding and garden.
Ways to control fleas
Flea Control by Vacuuming
Fleas and larvae usually hide in dark spaces like deep in the carpet, corners and skirting board.
One of the things that convinces a flea that it is time to leave the cocoon and jump on a host is vibration. And a vacuum provides one hell of a vibration!
If you are going to vacuum less often than once every three days, you should probably spread diatomaceous earth all over the floor between vacuuming.
If you are experiencing a LOT of fleas, you might want to vacuum once or twice a day just to be comfortable.
Products to rid fleas on your pet
Spot on treatments - very effective, easy to apply, once a month treatments. Some products include worming or heartworm treatment as well as flea treatment. Examples of spot on treatments include Advantage, Frontline, Advantix, Advocate and Revolution.
Flea shampoo - kills fleas on your pet at the time of the bath, but once rinsed off have no lasting effect on fleas.
Rinses and sprays - vary in effectiveness, many need to be used weekly, some more often if severe flea problems are present. Rinses must be applied to a clean, mostly dry coat at the correct concentration to be effective.
Collars & Powders - are helpful, but not the most effective treatment. While it does prevent fleas around the collar you will find that the fleas are hanging around the dogs back end.
Oral treatment- such as capstar. Need to be used continuously until fleas are no longer present
For ways of ridding your homes and pets from fleas read "Treatment plan to break the flea cycle"
Bianca is the owner and groomer at Funky Fur dog grooming and always looking for ways to help you care for your pet.